Public Statement: The Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) Offers to Home Circus Sea Lions…..

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Animal Welfare

imagesCircus Sea Lions are currently performing in Fingal, home to the ISS, with Duffy’s Circus on tour, notwithstanding Fingal County Council’s  2007 claim to be the 1st council to ban circuses with wildlife.  The ISS is of the view the circus is not a suitable life for a marine mammal, closely confined, travelling and performing and has made Duffys the offer to home or facilitate retiring and rehoming these Sea Lions.

“Sea Lions are superb marine athletes and the close confinement of a circus, upheavals and travelling is a great cruelty by “omission”, removed from a natural environment and behaviourally frustrated.  We hope Duffys circus will accept our offer and help end the practise of menageries and performing wildlife in Irish circuses”  says ISS spokesperson. “Fossetts and others have already taken this step”

The ISS calls on 
 * The Arts Council to support only circuses, free of wildlife.
 * Local authorities to accomodate only circuses fee of wildlife.
 * The public to attend only circuses free of wildlife.
 * The NPWS and Dept of Ag (DAFM), as competent authorities to take action to protect wildlife in captivity.

Brendan Price, Biologist of ISS, has a long history bringing the practise of keeping wildlife in circuses to an end and been charged by ISS in this matter. In 1990 he was responsible for the Dublin Zoo Enquiry, ending among other things, wildlife trade with circuses.In the same year, co-opted by the ISPCA, he ran the groundbreaking Castlemahon Tiger case, setting legal precedent for captive wildlife, re-homing Tigers, Bear and Baboons and ending the practise in Ireland of circus, boarding jaded wildlife acts in outhouses, to breed future recruits for the ring. In 2005 he rallied Galway citizens to protest the plight of 3 underweight Elephants and Hippo with tusk abcess, securing committment of Italian circus not to travel wildlife in Ireland again.In Fingal , with RTE he exposed the dangers to children of loose elephants. Another Elephant, with a split plate, left Dublin by ferry in a hurry to avoid a a vet college appointment, he’d arranged and has never returned. 

Media have chronicled other human injuries and escapes involving circus wildlife over these years. In 1996 Brendan took care of a Tiger cub, illegally in Ireland and with the assistance of the now President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and NPWS, secured Ireland’s ratification of C.I.T.E.S. (U.N. Convention governing trade in endangered species), limiting trade in wildlife.

Over 30 years campaigning for captive wildlife, Brendan has been either responsible or central to these developments.    in addition to acting for the ISS, Ireland’s 1st and longest serving seal sanctuary and competent for the task at hand, should the opportunity be allowed and given the Sea Lions

The ISS has now offered Duffys Circus, by retiring and re-homing these marine mammals, the opportunity to bring the practise of keeping wildlife in circus, to an end in Ireland.
The ISS recognises the circus as traditional proponent of performing arts, deserving of public support but….for the keeping of wildlife or indeed any animal in cruelty!!

For Comment or further information:  Ph. 01 8354487  Txt. 087 3245423